Random House Trade Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780812976243, 304pp.
Publication Date: November 14, 2006
This superb novel by the author of In a Father's Place confirms Tilghman as one of America's finest writers. Set on the Eastern shore of Maryland, on the eve of World War II, the story concerns the decline of the once-grand Mason family.
"The Retreat," says Christopher Tilghman, "is modeled after my family's farm in Maryland. Tilghmans were all over the Eastern Shore in the 17th and 18th centuries, for the most part enriching themselves at the expense of others. They were prominent in the Revolutionary War mostly because they were tired of sharing their abundance with the king. Since then they have steadily declined, but the farm through certain miracles and detours has remained in the family."
Tilghman, who now lives with his wife and three sons in rural Massachusetts, began writing after graduating from Yale and serving briefly in the Navy. When publishing success at first eluded him, he earned a living at a sawmill in New Hampshire, and built a post-and-beam house with hand tools on a hilltop in Vermont. Moving back to the more urban environment of Cambridge, Massachusetts, he became a corporate copywriter and sometime journalist before publishing In a Father's Place, a highly-praised collection of short stories. Mason's Retreat is his first novel.